Nov 1, 2010

The Benefits of Networking – and Cookies!

Just back from an entrepreneurs networking event with guest speaker Gordon Slater, the man behind Byron Bay Cookie Company. And yes, I was hopeful of some free samples. We weren’t disappointed with loads of cookies to munch on. The company is now international and along the way they’ve bought other ‘cookie’ companies, Luken and May and Falwasser. But it started at a kitchen table and a market stall. Here are some of his pearls of wisdom:

• Segment your time and focus on the task at hand, then move on.

• Know that there’s a market for your business, do the research

• Keep a balance between the artisan/ creative side of your product but make sure it stacks up scientifically. They’ve managed to grow from handmade rough shaped cookies to a product that ticks all the nutrition and wholesaler requirements without losing their handmade look.

• Work with your market – don’t lose your branding and personality to suit other markets. Find solutions to recreate your USP no matter where in the world you’re manufacturing or selling.

• Make sure you have a high Adversity Quotient if you want to survive the tough times – you need to conquer your fears to be open to opportunities and survive the tough times because they do happen. But if you train your brain you have a good starting point for success.

And as I do at every opportunity, I used question time to ask his thoughts on the need for a business plan to the success of his business. He agreed that they are essential to success. Planning is essential and it allows you to put all the elements together that you believe you need to follow at that time – but he did qualify that with a quote “a plan is only good until you go into battle” – you still need to be aware and responsive to opportunities – stay entrepreneurial!

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